Have you ever stopped what you were saying, because you have completely lost your train of thought? Have you ever had a conversation that stopped dead, because you couldn’t come up with that one word you wanted to say? You know the word, and because you’re intelligent like most with ADHD, that word is probably the perfect word for the conversation. And sometimes it’s the most simple of words that eludes you. But you stand there looking unintelligent and spacey as you struggle. Your brain freezes, and you have to settle on a substitute word that probably doesn’t convey your message as well as the word you wanted just to keep the conversation going. Or you might blurt out what first comes to mind, which probably changes the whole meaning of what you were trying to say. And this further undermines how smart you appear to those in the conversation. This leads to the question of how to find the right word, and what kept you from finding in the first place.
This Doesn’t Mean You Aren’t Smart
It probably means that you have ADHD. As I stated before, you are most likely above average in braininess. In fact, most ADHDers have IQs over 120. One or more symptoms of ADHD could have caused this. This could be distraction. Or it could be trouble in retrieval of the information. And that can be attributed to the symptom of disorganization. As long as we’re upping the list, we could bring in disorganization. And the last symptom I will be attributing to this problem is impatience.
Symptom Number 1
Distraction – becoming distracted by something other than what you are trying to say. “Why is that floor not mopped?” “What is it that I wanted to do tonight?” “That car is fast.” “Where did I park my car?” “What is she looking at?” When one or more extraneous of these thoughts creep in, people with ADHD are more likely to lose train of thought. And getting back to that train of thought or retrieval of the right word becomes almost impossible, even with prompting.
Symptom Number 2
Retrieval trouble – not being able to retrieve words or thoughts due to the different wiring of ADHD brains. This creates a disorganization of how the brain stores and retrieves information. The other day I used the word lose instead of leave. This happens to me all the time.
Symptom Number 3
Disorganization – the disorganization of thoughts can lead to not only inability to retrieve a word, but to a totally messy conversation. I’ve gone into a conversation totally sure of what I’m want to say, only to realize my thoughts were not organized enough to get out what I wanted to say. And I know that I could have the right things to say, if I could only organize it into the right words. And what’s worse is that while you are disorganized, you have more time to have trouble retrieving the words or to get distracted.
Symptom Number 4
Impatience – rushing through what you are saying. This In fact, leaves you open to becoming distracted and unable to retrieve what it is you are trying to say. And when you are impatient, you can forget about trying to organize your thoughts into a cogent side of the conversation.
How Do You Get By This
This is the part of my blog post where I give my limited “expertise,” and where I ask for your thoughts in the comments below. I would have to say first and foremost, give yourself a break. Even those without ADHD aren’t perfect. And they might not be aware of the advantages of an ADHDer like being:
- a problem solver
- a multi tasker
- perseverant (hyper focused)
And if you remember this, you might not put the pressure on yourself that will make things worse.
Second, and probably just as important, breath! Slow down and take deep even breaths. An ADHD advantage is that your mind is always working. It is possible that while you are taking those breaths, your mind could be formulating what you want to say. And it may just come pouring out of you better than how you want to say it in the first place.
Third is to tell the person you are talking to that you have the learning disorder of ADHD. Most of the time this is enough for them to give you the understanding you need. But since ADHD is still stigmatized, that might not be the case.
Fourth is to prepare what you want to say beforehand, if you can. You can do this by writing it down and practicing it. Hopefully you have someone you can practice with. I know that this is not easy to do when most conversations are spontaneous. A prime example of an instance for preparation is in an interview.
Fifth is to get passionate about what you are saying. When I am passionate about what I am saying, my adrenaline gets flowing, and I am more fluent with my words. I just have to be careful that I don’t get too excited, because I may start to hyper focus and lose track of all other things around me. Then I’m apt to say something that I shouldn’t, especially since ADHD reduces your filter.
You can see how much one symptom can because problems, but you can have multiple symptoms playing off each other. Distraction can lead to retrieval problems that can lead to impatience and disorganization. Or disorganization can lead to impatience that can lead to retrieval trouble, and on and on. In fact, it almost seems that there would always be more than one symptom in play. When you at ADHD in that way, it seems to become an untamable monster.
But, as I’ve stated above, there are many ways to do wrangle this condition into a tenable beast. There are many more ways that either I don’t know, forgot to add, or I am waiting to talk about in other blogs like medication. And as I stated above, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Just remember to leave any nastiness out of it.